WDBJ7 recognizes Robin Reed’s impact as he prepares to retire

Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 7:02 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - To consider Robin’s impact here in western Virginia, you have to start by looking up.

“That Robin’s got him a computer, Vernon. The man is wired for weather. Didn’t you hear Robin say that it was going to rain any second? We are talking pinpoint Vernon.”

Ernest P. Worrell praised Robin in a WDBJ7 promotional spot.

And in an interview this week, so did Phil Hysell, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg.

“Robin was absolutely just masterful about getting people’s attention,” Hysell told us. “He has so much trust and respect in the community, and undoubtedly the decades of relaying those warnings has saved lives.”

Perhaps you met Robin at a chili cookoff, learned from him at WeatherFest or followed his extended run in the pages of the Roanoker Magazine, as “Best Sex Symbol/Male.”

Click here for other stories about Robin Reed’s retirement.

Non-profits and community organizations in western Virginia would label Robin a most-valuable player.

Jim Paxton, former band director at Salem High School, enlisted him as the announcer for the Summer Music Games. Paxton said Robin has been on the sidelines at least 20 to 25 times.

“He’s the total consummate professional,” Paxton said. “The joy of watching him, his face, during those performances, was almost worth the price of admission to me.”

“After the kind of winter we’ve just been through, it seems that everybody is talking about the weather more than usual, which naturally takes us down to the science museum with a brand new tornado here, and a hurricane and lots of other things,” Robin told the WDBJ7 audience in 1998.

Robin was instrumental in bringing the Weather Gallery to the Science Museum of Western Virginia. He served on the board with Sydney Nordt.

“He doesn’t jump in to be the star, but he sees what can happen,” Nordt said. “And he works with the people that are there. I think all of the people at the science museum loved working with him and both his boys volunteered at the front desk, so we got to know the whole family.”

Robin’s biggest impact might be his interaction with young people:

Today, Jared Holland is the host of Morgan in the Morning on Charlottesville radio station 99.7 CYK. But when we was growing up in the Roanoke Valley, he was a Boy Scout along with Robin’s sons Patrick and Daniel.

“We would be in a canoe in the middle of the lake, and people literally from the shore were like “Hey Robin, what’s the weather like today?” He’s like, ha ha, and he would look at the sky and then he would brush it off and we would be back at what we were doing there and then,” Holland said. “It wasn’t about Robin Reed the weatherman. It was about Robin Reed the dad. It was about Robin Reed the mentor. And that’s what I most remember him for.”

Robin made countless classroom visits to schools across southwest Virginia.

“We lose too many people every year to lightning and we don’t need to do that, because you can get out of lightning’s way,” Robin told a 4th grade class at Pulaski Elementary School in 2006.

Jessica Mackaro spent a summer as a WDBJ7 weather intern, when she was a college student considering a career in meteorology.

“He was willing to take on a college kid who was trying to figure things out,” Mackaro said in an interview this week.

“He also didn’t let me go, when I spilled the drink all over the computer not long before a broadcast, so I just remember him being always open to answering any questions that I had, being really supportive,” she said.

And then there’s Robin’s second career teaching at Virginia Tech. WDBJ7 political analyst Bob Denton was Director of the School of Communication until his recent retirement. He hired Robin as a professor of practice.

“He knows it. He’s done it, from the sports to the weather to the anchoring,” Denton said. “And the students respect that and can learn from that.”

No fewer than five of our current colleagues here at WDBJ7 had Robin as a professor at Virginia Tech, including during COVID.

“I watched Robin growing up, so I was a little starstruck when I saw him as my professor,” said meteorologist Catherine Maxwell, “and he pretty much quickly was no, I’m not a celebrity or anything, I’m your professor.”

“I would say that Robin is passionate, caring, and just a genuine role model that everybody in that program can look up to,” said reporter Andrew Webb.

“He always knew everyone’s name. He remembered something about everyone, talked to everyone before a class, after class. And not every professor I had did that,” said producer Reid Campbell. “And I thought... for someone who stands in such a place as he does in this community, I was very impressed by that.”

“He was a steady hand through it all, at, like, a time of uncertainty. He was definitely a professor you could lean on and trust. And he extended a lot of compassion for his students,” added producer Jessica Mardian.

“He always cared about each one of his students, and how they were doing mentally and emotionally. He would always ask how we were doing at the beginning of every class, and that just really meant a lot,” said reporter Makayla Shelton.

Robin has announced his plan to retire from WDBJ7 in early December. He will continue to teach at Virginia Tech.